+269 votes
First day trying to walk without her crutches!
Young Cancer Survivor’s Prayer: ‘Please Give Doctors the Answer to Cancer’
Description
When she was in second grade, Abri Bentley was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Today, she’s adjusting to life without part of her leg, and using her voice and experiences to help others.
Abri Bentley was saying her prayers before bed when she stopped to tell her mother about a pain in her leg. "She thought she'd sprained it," Nikkole Bentley tells us. "We figured it was growing pains." But over the next few days, the pain persisted. And so did Nikkole, taking Abri to the emergency department, her pediatrician and eventually, an orthopedic surgeon. "When I picked her up for her appointment, we left her backpack at school because we thought she'd be going back," Nikkole tells us.

Instead, that day — Sept. 4, 2015 — marked Abri's last day of second grade. She was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a rare type of cancer, and would spend the next 11 months fighting it. Abri had 17 rounds of chemotherapy and limb salvage surgery, which required doctors to remove her cancerous left tibia and replace it with a cadaver arm bone. That left Abri with a new limb she called "Arg" — a combination arm and leg. ("She's all about the humor," Nikkole says.)

While the chemotherapy did its job, the limb salvage surgery was no laughing matter. "The limb salvage didn't work well," Nikkole says. So Abri had two choices: try another limb salvage procedure or have her lower leg amputated. "We went through everything with her," Nikkole says. "She spoke to amputees and people who had multiple limb salvage procedures. She went to counselors. We made a pros and cons list." The family also met with the surgeons who would potentially perform the procedures. Then Nikkole and her husband, Rod, asked Abri what she wanted to do. "We've let her make a lot of the decisions so that she would have control over what she was going through," Nikkole says. For Abri, the answer was clear: Say goodbye to Arg. And do it at Mayo Clinic.

"We were choosing between surgeons in California and Minnesota," Nikkole tells us. "We could go to California, where it was warm, or Minnesota, where it was freezing cold." Abri, an Arizona native, chose cold. "Dr. Rose won her heart," Nikkole says by way of explanation. That's orthopedic surgeon Peter Rose, M.D., who together with colleagues Anthony Stans, M.D., and Steven Moran, M.D., came up with a plan tailored to Abri. "I feel like we got the dream team," Nikkole says. "The physicians were fabulous." As was everyone else the family encountered. "Mayo Clinic is the most amazing place," Nikkole says. "We met nothing but genuine, caring, loving people." People like physical therapist Wendy Timm, who "we miss every single day," Nikkole tells us. Before the family left Mayo, Timm told Abri that she'd make a trip to Arizona to hike with her once she's ready. "Abri is planning to work her butt off so that Wendy can come down soon," Nikkole says.

And she's well on her way to that hike. Nikkole tells us that Abri is adjusting to life with "Stumpy" — Arg's replacement — and getting ready to be fitted with a prosthetic. "We've been more blessed than broken," Nikkole says. "We don't take things for granted anymore. Cancer changes you, and that's not the worst thing."

Cancer has also changed the prayers Abri says each night. Now, when she's getting tucked in, she recites this: "Dear God: Please give doctors the right answer to cancer so nobody has to go through this ever again."

To that we say, Amen.

You can learn more about Abri, including her efforts to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer research, on her Facebook page or YouTube channel.
Credits: Team Abri

Then leave a comment below before using the social media tools atop this page to share this story with others.
20,372 views Mar 22

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Scomella 340 points
Abri is the definition of hero!   She is SO strong, approaches everything with determination, she WONT give up!  But I must say meeting this family they are ALL heros   They sacrifice for eachother, all of them, to help eachother.  Abri’s older sister left high school her sophomore year ad started online school so she could help with the family while Abri had her treatments.  Never ever a regret from her, she did this for her sister, for her family.   The amount of love the have for eachother and others is amazing.   They ALL beat cancer together!
+12 votes
Mar 22
Aknned 350 points
Abri is very deserving to be one of Ellen’s hero’s. She been through a lot and does
It with an awesome family and a positive attitude. I believe she has a sister getting ready for college and could
Desperately use more
Scholarships.  As you can imagine Abri’s cancer has used most
Of
Their funds.
+11 votes
Mar 22
Yankeegirl531 350 points
Abri is so deserving. I was recently diagnosed with cancer and she is my inspiration to fight.
+11 votes
Mar 22
Deborah Dean 390 points
Abriel is the most amazing child! She is my niece so I am partial but truly I’m so encouraged and strengthened in seeing her perseverance, courage and brilliant smile! She makes hearts soar because of her incredible strength and won’t stop Spirit. She’s blessed countless people around the world. ❤️
+11 votes
Mar 22
Jennifer Nikitenko 340 points
Abri is the most amazing child! For all she has been through she always has a smile on her beautiful face!!
+10 votes
Mar 22
mmalloff 330 points
As a nursing student and serial medical volunteer I have seen A LOT of people fight some really tough battles. Let me just say that little miss Abri should be an example to everyone - no matter what their battle is. This girl has more will power, determination, strength, and grace than anyone I have ever seen. She has an amazing family standing behind her too. They ALL deserve this!
+9 votes
Mar 23
Teresacoleman7 360 points
Abri is definitely a hero and we all admire her strength and determination. Her whole family are the type of people we should all aspire to be like. Love this little girl!
+8 votes
Mar 23
MONT Luzzago 290 points
Abri is a SUPERHERO.  I am amazed everyday how strong she is I draw strength every day from her.   Nothing stops her  She falls she gets back up..and flashes that big smile,  .We as adults can learn from her,  Abri and her family battled cancer together never giving up.    I have never meet a more loving family devoted to each other.  Her sister Ashlyn is a beautiful talented young lady who chose to school online to help her family during Abri treatment.  Together they are stronger knowing while Abri has beat cancer, her life will never be the same.   She chooses to fight for others afflicted with this horrible disease. Team Abri Foundation gives back with blessing bags for moms and children fighting the battle Abri did.
+7 votes
Mar 23
Ljfitch 260 points
I haven’t met Abri yet, but I am looking forward to the day I do, and I feel certain I will some day.  For now, she is simply an amazing girl and an I nspiration to others.  One of those “others” is my little niece, Linnea who was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma last December. Linnea met Abri and her family at a local event here in Phoenix, and since then I have heard so many amazing stories about her, her sister and her parents.  Their gift to others is their inspirational spirit, and I am so thankful for the love and light they share so generously to others, such as Linnea, who are now traveling that same path.
+2 votes
Mar 24
luckydog128 140 points
Abri we are all praying for you. God bless you. #teamabri
0 votes
Apr 5
Nettles_Kat 170 points
Abri inspires me all the way in England!! I’ve been following her since just after the Arg surgery-she’s been through many ups and downs - the one I recall most is the news she’d relapse, which was quickly confirmed as a mistake (thankfully!) but the photo of Abri and her sister showed the devastation of realising she was going to have to go through treatment all over again. Abri is old enough to have memories of how poorly treatment made her; and although the relief of a mis-relapse-diagnosis came, that experience is a reminder that the memories, the fear, the anxiety, and the possibility of relapse is always looming in the background. Abri has come so far since her Stumpy surgery - her family almost didn’t make it home from the hospital for Christmas last year; Abri was in her chair, unable to mobilise, but the whole family and community made the best of it, and now she is soaring!!! Abri even concord her 1st ride on an escalator this past week, she joined in with a Sports Day at school; she speaks out at events to raise awareness of her struggle with cancer and that of so many others. Whilst most of the world were getting into arguments over the latest presidential election Abri was making a direct plea to the President for more emphasis on funding research for Childhood Cancer..... Abri will go so far in life, and Ellen, you will want to keep up with her! She’s going to do great things. Keep going Abri!!!!!
0 votes
Apr 11